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Modest Fruean makes mark

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Saturday, August 14, 2010    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

The strapping 22-year-old crossed for three tries in Canterbury's 44-22 win against North Harbour in their third round ITM Cup match at AMI Stadium on Friday night to bring his tally to five in just two matches for his adopted province.

Fruean scored twice against Manawatu in the previous round after making his Canterbury debut off the bench in the second half, but he quickly played down a suggestion that he was a try-scoring machine.

"It was a good team effort and I was just running off some great players inside me and finished it for the team,' he said modestly, not mentioning that he had to bust through tackles near the line to score two of his tries.

What Fruean has achieved in two games is even more amazing when there were doubts if he would play at all in the NPC competition after suffering heart arrhythmia (racing heart) in the build-up to the first game which he was forced to miss.

"I made sure I did the right thing and looked after myself. I made sure I took the medication I've been put on every morning and that helps with the heart and the blood flow,' Fruean said adding that he appreciated the support of the Canterbury coaches and his family through that scary time.

While Canterbury won comfortably, Fruean said his first 80-minute match for Canterbury had been exhausting.

"When the opposition is down by so much they're always going to pick up the game speed – it was tough but I tried to keep pushing.'

Fruean said a key focus for Canterbury was to tighten the defence after it leaked some soft tries to Manawatu. "And we had to make sure we secured the ruck as well. We tied them up there and we let them have a go on the outside where we backed our pace to defend.

"In the first two games we wanted to make a statement from the word go and didn't do that so for this match we wanted to make sure we put our foot down from the start.'

And when did Fruean last score a hat-trick of tries?

"It was for New Zealand Under-19 in our first game against Wales. It was the same thing – I was put in good positions by the guys inside me.'